A Territory Of The United States Dakota, lying between lat. 42° 30' and 49° N., and lon. 96° 20' and 104° W., bounded N. by British America, E. by Minnesota and Iowa, S. by Nebraska, and W. by Wyoming and Montana territories; average extent N. and S. nearly 450 m., E. and W. 350 m.; area, 150,982 sq. m. Most of the territory W. and S. of the Missouri river is unorganized. The rest is divided into 83 counties, viz.: Armstrong, Ashmore, Beadle, Bonhomme, Boreman, Bottineau, Bramble, Brookings, Buffalo, Burbank, Burchard, Burleigh, Campbell, Cass, Cavileer, Charles Mix, Clark, Clay, Cragin, Davidson, Deuel, Douglas, Edmunds, Faulk, Foster, French, Gingras, Grand Forks, Grant, Greeley, Gregory, Hamlin, Hand, Hanson, Howard, Hughs, Hutchinson, Hyde, Kidder, Kingsbury, Lake, Lamou're, Lincoln, Logan, Lyman, McCook, McHenry, McPherson, Mercer, Meyers, Mills, Miner, Minnehaha, Moody, Morton, Mountraille, Pembina, Pratt, Presho, Ramsey, Ransom, Renville, Richland, Rolette, Rusk, Sheridan, Spink, Stanley, Stevens, Stone, Stutsman, Sully, Thompson, Todd, Tripp, Turner, Union, Wallette, Walworth, Wetmore, Williams, Wood, and Yankton. The oldest counties lie in the E. part along the Minnesota border, and in the S. E. along the Missouri river.

The only considerable town is Yankton, the capital, situated in the S. E. corner of the territory, on the Missouri river, and having a population in 1870 of 737. According to the census, the population of the territory in 1860 was 4,837, of whom 2,261 were Indians not sustaining tribal relations; in 1870, 14,181, which includes 94 colored persons and 1,200 Indians. There were 5,234 male citizens of the United States 21 years old and over. Of the population in 1870, 9,366 were native and 4,815 foreign born. Of the natives, 2,088 were born in the territory, 1,273 in New York, 1,044 in Iowa, 677 in Pennsylvania, 638 in Illinois, 635 in Ohio, 607 in Wisconsin, and 361 in Minnesota. Of the foreigners, 1,179 were born in Norway, 906 in British America, 888 in Ireland, 563 in Germany, and 380 in Sweden. There were 945 persons, excluding Indians, 10 years old and over, unable to write, of whom 727 were more than 21 years of age; 1,144 children attended school during the year. The greater portion of the white population are in the S. E. part of the territory along the Missouri river; they are chiefly engaged in agriculture.

The tribal Indians number about 29,-000, including 26,216 Sioux, 735 Poncas, and 2,200 Arickarees, Gros Ventres, and Mandans. There are 2,000 Yankton Sioux on a reservation of 400,000 acres in the extreme S. part, E. of the Missouri river; the Sisseton and the Wahpeton Sioux are gathered on two reservations, one of 1,241,600 acres at Lake Traverse, occupied by 1,496 Indians, and one of 345,600 acres at Devil's lake, occupied by 720. The Unkpapa, Blackfeet, Lower Yanktonai, Upper Yankto-nai, Sans Arc, Upper and Lower Brule, Two-Kettle, Minneconjou, and Ogallala bands of Sioux, numbering 22,000 in all, occupy five agencies on a reservation of 25,000,000 acres W. of the Missouri river and N. of Nebraska. The Poncas are on a reservation of 576,000 acres near the confluence of the Niobrara and Missouri rivers; and the Arickarees, Gros Ventres, and Mandans have a reservation of 8,640,-000 acres in the N. W. part of Dakota and E. part of Montana. - The territory of Dakota forms to a great extent the watershed of the two great basins of North America, the Missouri and Mississippi rivers and the tributaries of Hudson bay.

The general surface of the country E. and N. of the Missouri is an undulating prairie, free from marsh, swamp, or slough, but traversed by many streams and dotted with innumerable lakes. A plateau called the Coteau des Prairies, or Prairie Heights, with an average elevation of 1,450 ft. above the sea, and a breadth of 15 or 20 m., extends for 200 m. from the S. along the E. border; while a similar table land of less height, the Plateau du Coteau du Missouri, occupies the middle and N. portion. The basin of the Red river in the northeast is covered with open grassy plains. In the southwest, near lat. 44° and between lon. 103° and 105°, extending into Wyoming, are the Black hills and Mauvaises Terres, or Bad Lands. The Black hills occupy in both territories an area about 100 m. long and 60 m. wide, or 6,000 sq. m. The base of these hills is 2,500 or 3,000 ft. above the sea, and the highest peaks 6,700 ft. The Missouri river, which is navigable throughout its entire course in Dakota, traverses the territory from the N. W. to the S. E. corner.

Its largest tributary is the Yellowstone, which flows N. E. through Montana and joins the Missouri on the border of the two territories, in lat. 48°. The other chief western tributaries are the Little Missouri, which is formed near the W. central boundary by the confluence of the Box Elder and Thick-Timbered rivers, and has a N. E. course; the Big Cheyenne, which is formed by the confluence of its north and south forks near the Black hills, and flows E. to the Missouri near Fort Sully in southern Dakota; the White river, which enters the territory from Nebraska near the S. W. corner, and has a N. E. and E. course; the Niobrara, which, lying mostly in Nebraska, joins the Missouri in Dakota, a short distance W. of Yankton. On the east the most important tributaries are the Dakota or James river, which rises in the vicinity of Miniwakan or Devil's lake in the northeast, and after flowing nearly 400 m. S. unites with the Missouri a few miles below Yankton; and the Vermilion and Big Sioux, which have a S. direction in the S. E. portion of the territory, the latter forming a portion of the E. boundary, and are each more than 150 m. long.

Besides these, there are innumerable smaller affluents on both sides of the Missouri. The Red river of the North, flowing N. into British America, forms the E. boundary for about 250 m. It is navigated by the Hudson bay company's steamers nearly 200 m. S. in Dakota to Fort Abercrombie. Flowing into the Red river from the west are eight rivers, varying in length from 40 to 100 m.: Wild Rice, Cheyenne, Elm, Goose, Turtle, Big Salt, Park, and Pembina. The Mouse river enters Dakota from British America, and after a sweep through the N. W. part recrosses the boundary. The country is diversified with a vast number of lakes and ponds, which afford a constant supply of good water. The largest of these, all situated in the E. part, are Lakes Tchanchicanali, Poinsett, Abert, Travers, White Wood, and Big Stone (the last partly in Minnesota). In the N. part is a large body of salt water, 40 m. long and 12 m. in maximum breadth, called Minniwakan or Devil's lake. - No complete geological survey of the territory has yet been made. The formation of the Black hills, as described by Lieut. Warren, is: 1, metamorphosed azoic rock, including granite; 2, lower Silurian (Potsdam sandstone); 3, Devonian; 4, carboniferous; 5, Permian; 6, Jurassic; 7, cretaceous.

The existence in this region of gold, silver, iron, coal, lead, salt, and petroleum has been proved; and there are strong indications that Dakota will take high rank as a mining country. Coal has also been discovered on the Missouri river near Fort Rice in great abundance, some of the veins being from 10 to 15 ft. thick. There is an abundance of clay and white marl, excellent for making bricks, on the Big Sioux river. Slate strata and stone quarries are found on the Big Sioux and Dakota rivers. Building stone of good quality abounds on the Dakota, and limestone exists on most of the streams. Oil springs have been discovered in the vicinity of the Black hills. The N. part of the territory contains rich deposits of salt. - The climate is highly favorable to health; the atmosphere is pure and dry, and there is comparatively little rain. Pulmonary diseases are scarcely known. According to the census of 1870, there were 7.8 deaths from all causes to 1 from consumption, and 12.4 from all causes to 1 from pneumonia. While the winters of the north are severe, the climate of the south is mild. Spring opens earlier than in the same latitude further east.

Observations made at Fort Clark, lat. 47°, show the mean temperature for the six months beginning with December to have been but 1° lower than at New York city and Pittsburgh. According to recent observations at Yankton by the Dakota historical society, the climate throughout the year was as follows:




Wet days.

Prevailing winds.







- 16°

1 1/2

7 3/4





- 20 1/2


5 5/8

2 1/2




- 4

5 3/4







7 1/8

3 1/2






4 3/4


4 1/2





4 3/4



S. S. W.


103 1/4





S. W.


102 3/4









3 1/8







4 5/8

2 3/4

11 1/8












5 1/2



The prevailing soil of E. Dakota is a dark calcareous sandy loam, with an intermixture of clay. This loam is mostly from 4 to 6 ft. in depth, and has been found from 15 to 20 ft. It is remarkably fertile. The corn-producing belt, which runs through Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, extends N. W. through Iowa, up the valley of the Missouri through Dakota. The bottom lands bordering on this great river and its tributaries possess a singularly rich and uniform soil, and furnish extensive and luxuriant meadows. All kinds of grain, fruits, and vegetables usually grown in the middle states yield abundantly in Dakota. Indian corn has yielded 70 bushels an acre, wheat 30 to 50, oats 40 to 75, potatoes 270 to 500, and barley, buckwheat, and other cereals largely. "Wild apples, plums, cherries, grapes, and hops grow abundantly along the streams in the Missouri valley. It is believed that tobacco and sweet potatoes can be successfully raised on the warm bottom lands of the south. Dakota possesses remarkable advantages for stock raising. The plains are covered with nutritious grasses, which afford abundant pasturage throughout the year. The climate is specially favorable to sheep, and wool growing promises to be an important industry.

The trees, growing mostly on the river borders, are black walnut, oak, elm, ash, poplar, whitewood, maple, pine, box elder, willow, and cotton-wood. The Black hills are covered with forests of pine. Vast herds of buffalo, elk, deer, and antelope range over the W. portion. The black bear, wolverene, muskrat, otter, mink, marten, and wolf are found. - Accord-nig to the census of 1870 the number of acres of improved land was 42,645. The chief productions were 170,662 bushels of wheat, 133,-140 of Indian corn, 114,327 of oats, 4,118 of barley, 179 of buckwheat, 50,177 of potatoes, 456 of peas and beans, 13,347 tons of hay 8,810 lbs. of wool, 209,735 of butter, 1,850 of cheese, and 1,230 gallons of sorghum molasses. There were 2,514 horses, 225 mules and asses, 4,151 milch cows, 2,125 working oxen, 6,191 other cattle, 1,901 sheep, and 2,033 swine. Ihere were also 729 horses and 44,257 cattle not on farms. The cash value of farms was $2,085,265; of farming implements and machinery, $142,612; wages paid during the year, including value of board, $71 156; estimated value of all farm productions, including betterments and additions to stock, $495,657; value of home manufactures, $1,677; of animals slaughtered or sold for slaughter, $22,066; of all live stock, $779,952. Manufacturing industry is yet undeveloped; but there is abundant water power, which, with the advantages for sheep farming, will greatly facilitate the development of woollen manufactures.

The Northern Pacific railroad from Duluth, Minn., at the head of Lake Superior, to Puget's sound, Washington territory, is to cross the 1ST. central portion of Dakota. In July, 1873, it was in operation to the Missouri river, in central Dakota, and its extension was in rapid progress. The Dakota Southern railroad connects Sioux City, Iowa, and Yankton, 61 m. The total length of completed railroads in the territory is 255 m. The Dakota and Northwestern, from Yankton N. W. to the Big Cheyenne river (constructed and operated from Sioux City to Yankton by the Dakota Southern company), the Dakota Central, from Yankton N. to a connection with the Northern Pacific, about 280 m., and other lines, are projected. - The government is similar to that of the other territories. The principal executive officers are a governor, secretary, auditor, treasurer, and superintendent of public instruction. The legislature consists of a council of 13 and a house of representatives of 26 members; its sessions are biennial. A chief justice and two associate justices hold the supreme and district courts, which have general jurisdiction. There is no territorial debt; the county and town debts in 1870 amounted to $5,761; taxation not national, $13,867, of which $1,269 was territorial and $12,598 county.

The internal revenue collections for 1871 were $7,130. The receipts into the territorial treasury for 1870 were $1,018; disbursements, $927. In 1870 the assessed value of real estate was $1,695,-723, personal $1,228,766; total, $2,924,489; true value of real and personal estate, $5,599,-752. The legal rate of interest is 10 per cent, per annum; but any rate not exceeding 2 per cent, a month may be legally agreed upon. Education is not neglected. A free school law was passed in 1869, which places the schools under the control of a territorial superintendent of public instruction and county superintendents, and requires a common school to be kept in each district for at least three months in the year. The superintendent reported in 1872 (some counties wanting) the number of districts organized to be 55; teachers, 53; pupils, 1,765; value of school property, $9,010. Teachers' wages vary from $25 to $100 a month. The United States government is providing for the instruction of the Indians at the agencies. There is a free public library at Yankton presented by congress. Ten weekly newspapers are published in the territory.

According to the census of 1870, there were 17 religious organizations, having 10 edifices, with 2,800 sittings and property valued at $16,300. - Dakota originally formed a part of Minnesota territory, which was organized in 1849, being a portion of the Louisiana purchase from France in 1803. In 1854 the territory of Nebraska was formed, comprising a portion of what is now Dakota. The territory of Dakota was organized by act of congress approved March 2, 1861, and included the present territories of Montana and Wyoming. In 1863 the territory of Idaho was erected, comprising all that portion of Dakota W. of lon. 27° from Washington. In 1864 the N. part of eastern Idaho was organized as the territory of Montana; at the same time the S. part, comprising 91,665 sq. m., was transferred to Dakota, thus making the total area of the territory at that date 240,597 sq. m. By act of July 25, 1868, 89,665 sq. m. were taken from Dakota to form the territory of Wyoming, being all of the above mentioned 91,665 sq. m., excepting a triangular tract of 2,000 sq. m. between Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho, bounded 1ST. by lat. 44° 30' N., E. by lon. 34° W. from Washington, S. and W. by the Rocky mountains, which has since formed a part of Dakota, though widely separated from it.

The first permanent settlements of whites were made in 1859, in what are now the counties of Clay, Union, and Yankton. The first legislature convened March 17,1862. Immigration was very limited until 1866.